More ammunition for supporters of mandatory motorcycle helmet laws: a new federal study shows that repeal of such laws in Kentucky and Louisiana was followed by an increase in motorcyclist deaths and injuries, the Associated Press reports.
“Motorcyclist fatalities increased in the near term by sizable amounts – by over 50 percent in Kentucky and over 100 percent in Louisiana. Injuries also increased substantially in both states,” states the report released Tuesday from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Fifty-three motorcyclists were killed in Louisiana in 1997 and 1998, the two years before the repeal. That number grew to 111 in the first two full years after the repeal, 2000 and 2001, according to the study.
In Kentucky, the experience was similar: 24 motorcyclist deaths in each of the two years prior to the repeal of mandatory helmet laws for adults in 1998 for a total of 48; in 1999 and 2000, a total of 76.
Growth in deaths and injuries was not simply the result of the growth in the popularity and use of motorcycles, the report said, citing statistics that the number of fatalities per registered riders has increased.